This course presents an introduction to the study of the world’s music through close examination of various music traditions found in the port countries of our itinerary. Our investigation will be guided by some of the fundamental issues and concepts from the field of ethnomusicology, the study of music and culture. In addition to learning the specific attributes of the music traditions that we study, we will also look at how these musics and their cultural settings influence and shape each other and the various ways in which music functions in different human societies, giving us unique insights into understanding these cultures, what they share in common, how they differ, and what accounts for those differences. More than just entertainment or amusement, we will study music as a form of human expression and integral element of all human cultures. Field labs will integrate classroom material into real-world settings, and they will also give students opportunities to develop ethnographic observation, analysis, and writing skills.
Field WorkCountry: Ghana
Day: 1 - Accra - Thursday, 17 October
This field lab takes place at the University of Ghana in Legon, Ghana, where the highlight will be a drum and dance workshop held on the grounds of the university, led by Fred Tay and assisted by other local artists, including some who perform with the Ghana Dance Ensemble, the internationally-known, state-funded performing arts group that is in residence at the University of Ghana. This lab will also include a tour of the university and overview of its important role in the preservation of local cultures and traditions in Ghana after independence. Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nukrumah, opened the Center shortly after independence as a way to institutionalize the study of local culture. He also instated a music requirement for all majors in the university to ensure that all students would have a basic understanding of how to perform some aspect of traditional music. Finally, he also helped create the Ghana Dance Ensemble as a way to perform, celebrate, and preserve musical arts of some of Ghana’s largest ethnic groups. Because of these actions, the University of Ghana has been central in preserving Ghanaian music and culture in the post-independence era. Students will also have an opportunity to explore the university grounds on their own and see how local college students live, study, and socialize. There will be a break for lunch. Academic Objectives: 1. Learn basics of kpanlogo hand drumming and dancing 2. Learn cultural context/functions of the music in Ghana 3. See the University of Ghana and learn about its history, including the Center for African Studies and the role it has played in preserving local traditional music after independence.